Network as Material: An Interview with Julian Oliver

An Interview with Julian Oliver By Taina Bucher. "I met the Berlin-based media artist and programmer Julian Oliver in Toronto as part of the Subtle Technologies festival, where he taught a workshop on the Network as Material. The aim of the workshop reflects Oliver’s artistic and pedagogical philosophy nicely; to not only make people aware of the hidden technical infrastructures of everyday life but to also provide people with tools to interrogate these constructed and governed public spaces.

Julian Oliver, born in New Zealand (anyone who has seen him give a talk will know not to mistake him for an Australian) is not only an extremely well versed programmer but is increasingly as equally knowledgeable with computer hardware. His background is as diverse as the places he has lived and the journeys it has taken him on. Julian started out with architecture, moved on to Australia to work in the field of virtual reality and as Stelarc’s assistant. He continued on to Gotland to work on the artistic game-development collective Select Parks before moving to Madrid and finally to Berlin, a city he continuously speaks enthusiastically about. Julian is also an outspoken advocate of free software and thinks of his artistic practice not so much as art but more in terms of being a ‘critical engineer’, a term that he applies particularly to his collaborations with his studio partner Danja Vasiliev."

Read the full interview here (via Furtherfield)...

Why don't I live in San Francisco?

Breakneck Prototyping With Microsoft Kinect and Pure Data Experiment with a variety of methodologies to create robust and complex interactive environments (games, installations, time/motion based etudes, etc.). There will be a lecture portion to the class giving an overview of precedent in computer vision, game art, mapping and re-mediation. No prior experience with programming necessary. The workshop portion of the class will be project based. Students will walk away with the tools, and a software toolkit needed to rapidly prototype multimedia works using the Kinect.

Instructor: Sofy Yuditskaya Dates: Saturday and Sunday, July 9 – 10 Where: GAFFTA

Wirelessness, Radical Empiricism in Network Cultures

I must get my hands on a copy of this book by Adrian Mackenzie. Want.

After years talking about the revolution in space perception induced by the real time IT networks, the strong industrial trend to go wireless whenever possible has pervaded space and habits. We're slowly "getting rid of cables", pushed by the industry as if cables were parasites, but unconsciously changing our culture without being aware of what is really happening technologically. Mackenzie fruitfully questions the use of taking wireless connections and communications for granted (as if they were some obscure "public service"). His definition of "wirelessness" states that it "designates an experience trending toward entanglements with things, objects, gadgets, infrastructures, and services, and imbued with indistinct sensations and practices of network-associated change." This experience of change is explained well chapter by chapter, through transmission algorithm principles, the physical perception of transmitters, antennas, postcolonial investments in third world countries, wireless coverage and a quantity of other related activities. Moreover his "radical empiricism" is indeed a godsend. He combines a theoretically rigorous approach with empirical considerations, never losing the reader’s interest. Mackenzie delivers an analysis of contemporary networks that is grounded on the visionary idea of a "Hertzian Landscape" by William Mitchell, while tracking the meaning of the disappearing origin of signals, in a compelling style. He probably would have loved the performances of Men In Grey too, but they just came after this important book.


The Secret Lives Of Objects

Stickybits is an iPhone app that talks to barcode stickers, allowing you to program messages and stick them to physical objects. You can buy a pack of 20 for around 10USD, but you can also download and print your own barcodes for free. "Each barcode is programmable by the first person who scans it and and leaves a photo, video, audio, or text message. The next time somebody scans that barcode, the previous message will appear on their phone. Anyone can add a new message to the same code, resulting in a stream of messages connected to whatever object or place the barcode is stuck on. Each scan, and related message, is geo-tagged so you can see as an object moves around how its story evolves."

Full article...